Published by JB on July 24, 2016
It takes a lot to dampen the unwavering, love will save the day spirit of Chris Martin. Certainly lightning, pouring rain, a pending last minute ad hoc schedule (which included the cancellation of both opening bands) and a mistaken start to at least one song had no ill effects on the 39 year-old lead singer’s joyous dance party in last night’s rain. Filling a short 85 minute rain-shortened set with 18 or 19 songs showed Martin’s determination to play through the elements – just like the zigzag career of Coldplay has brought them to this stage.
Martin is the band’s energizer bunny as the British foursome quickly approach two full decades as one of rock’s budding title-holders for “biggest rock band in the world”. Actually, if you’re looking to give that title to a band with members still in their 30’s, then Coldplay probably hold that trophy – moving past the other biggies (U2, Radiohead, Pearl Jam,….and the original death-defying energizer bunnies, the Rolling Stones)). Without Martin the other band members are stoic, good looking and just usually smiling – because that’s what Coldplay does a lot of; smile. The bad boys of rock they are not. One look at each of them, or even a closer peak at Martin with his ‘Global Citizen’ patch, his ‘Love’ button, his American flag tucked into his jeans and these lads appear to have walked straight out of a ‘save the puppies’ commercial. They’re a group hug waiting to happen. I bet they don’t cuss much on their tour plane.
The show was nearly cancelled. Two rounds of thunderstorms invaded Lake Michigan and Soldier Field just as the opening bands were supposed to jump on. Both beginning acts were cancelled as Twitter once again showed it’s immense value of providing updates every two minutes to the evacuated, sheltered fans. At 8:20 it was announced that Coldplay would be taking the stage asap. Forty minutes later the band launched into “A Head Full of Dreams” and never stopped until rains crashed the smile party.
On a serious note, Martin took his time in front of the 60,000 fans to talk about the shape of the world, the attacks during the week in Munich and the other horrible, similar situations over the past months. While his words may have gotten lost in the reverb of the stadium noise there’s nothing as potent as rock music to bring together whites, blacks, hispanics, muslims, catholics, lutherans, atheists, agnostics, etc….into one place at one time to cheer a similar cause (music). This fact wasn’t lost on Martin as he spoke, sweat pouring down him, elated throughout – telling the Chicago crowd that “this was the 40th show on the tour so we consider the first 39 to be rehearsals for tonight”.
Martin’s dominance throughout the night, and the band’s relentless ability to fill their songs with more hooks and melodies than Magical Mystery Tour had puts in perspective how important Coldplay has become over the last 18 years. They’re one of those bands that we don’t appreciate right now as much as we realize – and we’d miss them like crazy tomorrow if they were suddenly gone for whatever reason. They’ll never have an album like Achtung Baby, Automatic for the People, Exile on Main St or OK Computer, but they’ll deliver Michael Jackson-esque tracks such as the sublime ‘Adventure of a Lifetime’ – which is something none of their aforementioned predecessors could pull off. For all of Coldplay’s (mostly Martin’s) insufferable songs they’ve blasted the doors open on their catalog over the last decade. Beginning with Viva La Vida up through Ghost Stories and A Head Full of Dreams Coldplay has incorporated the use of color into their music and stage presence – clearly paving a way to scratch their way into any genre of their choice moving forward. They’re no longer going to be typecast as the logical torch-bearer from U2. They’ve become much more than what even the biggest cynics could have ever imagined.
-TWTHS (scroll below for show setlist)
A Head Full of Dreams (extended intro with Charlie Chaplin speech)
Sweet Home Chicago (Robert Johnson cover) (Coldplay debut)
Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall
Birds (with “Oceans” excerpt in intro)
Paradise (with Tiësto remix outro)
Always in My Head
Princess of China
Everglow (Chris Martin solo on piano;… more )
Clocks (with “Army of One” excerpt in intro)
Charlie Brown (reinitiated)
Hymn for the Weekend
Fix You (with “Midnight” excerpt in intro)
Heroes (David Bowie cover)
Viva la Vida
Adventure of a Lifetime
A Sky Full of Stars